A human rights report by the United States has observed that the government of Ghana frequently disregarded constitutional provisions against arbitrary arrests and detentions in 2020.
The report cited impunity in the Ghana Police Service which it said is fuelled by corruption, poor training, lack of oversight among other factors.
“Impunity remained a significant problem in the Ghana Police Service. Corruption, brutality, poor training, lack of oversight, and an overburdened judicial system contributed to impunity. Police often failed to respond to reports of abuses and, in many instances, did not act unless complainants paid for police transportation and other operating expenses. The office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Police Professional Standards Board investigated claims of excessive force by security force members,” excerpts of the report read.
The report titled the “Ghana 2020 Human Rights Report” put together by the U.S State Department borders on matters of critical human rights issues like inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment by the government or its agents, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, arbitrary arrest or detention, serious restrictions on the press, unjustified arrests or prosecutions against journalists; serious acts of corruption, the lack of investigation of and accountability for violence against women and a host of others.
The report found that while Ghana’s constitution prohibits torture and inhumane activities, treatment or punishments, there were credible reports that the police beat and abused detained suspects and other citizens.
The victims of such acts were often reluctant to file formal complaints.
In most cases, per the reports, the police generally denied the allegations and claimed that the level of force used was justified.
The report further cited multiple accusations of police high-handedness in enforcing the government’s COVID-19 lockdown measures in April 2020.
Again, the report stated that prison conditions in Ghana are generally harsh and sometimes life-threatening due to overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, lack of medical care, physical abuse, and food shortages.
The report lauded improvements in the Justice for All program with government support in expediting judicial review for many remand prisoners.